The Curriculum at Fairfield CP School
At Fairfield Community Primary School, we aim to provide a safe, secure environment which will promote Happiness and High Standards.
We aim to meet the needs and celebrate the achievements of all pupils, who, through high expectations and high standards of teaching, will reach their own potential regardless of ability.
We offer equal opportunities to all in the belief that Fairfield children will take their places as productive, valued and tolerant members of society.
It is through the curriculum that we aim to meet the educational aspirations of our mission statement. Our curriculum provides the structure for how this can be done and will define:
- What broad concepts we want our children to understand by the time they complete their journey from early years through to secondary transfer;
- What we want our children to know and to be able to do by the time they leave;
- What we are going to teach;
- When we are going to teach it;
- Why we are going to teach it;
- How it builds on what our children already know;
- How it prepares children for what they are going to learn next;
- What is special about what children learn because they attend Fairfield CP School…. in east Bury…. near to Manchester …. in the north west …… in the UK.
The ways in which children receive and process information has changed rapidly over the first two decades of the 21st century. The children with access to unlimited, unfiltered material day and night are still the children for whom the primary years (3-11) are the vital years, the years when vital skills are learned and vital concepts formed. The receipt of information does not guarantee learning and child development has not changed. Primary aged children are still those whose development falls into the categories identified by Piaget in the early twentieth century with most falling into the category of “Concrete Operations”.
For these children views on a screen are not enough to embed learning. Therefore, real experiences are required to learn. Indeed, 2,500 years before Piaget, Confucius revered for his wisdom, stated:
“I hear and I forget,
I see and I remember,
I do and I know!”
Our curriculum is based on these principles. It is impossible to split what children learn from how they learn and so our structures of learning are based on the need for the provision of first hand experiences and the experience of “doing”. Another key factor in the way that children learn (“pedagogy”) particular at Fairfield C.P, is the need for frequent re-cap and embedding of prior learning. This is recognised in the School Development Plan acronym for 2019.20 - SPIN (Stamina; Progress; “I can”; Nobody left behind) where the spinning of plates is a visual image for the multi -tasking of combining old and new learning. Thus, our non- core curriculum has to be sequenced in such a way as to provide very clear links to themes taught in earlier years. Teaching within the core curriculum has to be structured to allow for re-cap in each lesson and at key times during the day (e.g. register work) where previously mastered skills are practised.
Our curriculum aims to meet and go beyond the national curriculum through particular attention to the pedagogic and social needs of our own school population, identified through in depth monitoring of teaching and learning over a period of years.
The Early Years are of particular importance at Fairfield as a dearth of vocabulary and life experiences are a key hindrance to learning. Our “Continuous Provision” (areas of learning through activities) provides a structure for learning through play which is rigorously planned and which becomes more recognisably formal as children approach Y1. However, even in Y1 a special continuous provision room with a designated member of staff ensures that this type of learning continues.
We commit to ensuring that children are productive and valued members of society and as such our curriculum places emphasis on our children’s need to be able to express their thoughts and to understand those of others through:
speaking and listening;
being able to express themselves clearly through writing;
being able to read;
These are the “core skills” and children have a right to master them.
Our English teaching follows the national curriculum and where possible is linked to thematic projects so that new vocabulary and experiences can be used as learning tools. Phonics is taught through the “Letters and Sounds” system and reading through a graded guided reading system known as CLIMB which develops skills in the different strands of comprehending texts. We use a variety of carefully chosen fiction and non-fiction texts graded through the nationally recognised coloured book band system through to Y3/4 and then sets of aged based reading materials banded into ability sets for the majority of KS2 children. The support of parents and carers is essential in practising key reading skills and children have the opportunity to swap their books from an extensive collection on a daily basis. (see English Intent and policy)
Our mathematics system again follows the national curriculum and places emphasis on problem solving which assumes core calculation skills at an age appropriate level are in place. The early mathematical concepts learned through practical activities such as water play in the early years are essential. So too are number facts, number bonds and tables learning. Homework backs this up through the online Abacus scheme and Times Tables Rock Stars. (see Maths Intent and policy).
Rigour is ensured through non negotiables for key learning and the “no one left behind” doctrine which recognises that missed concepts place an unfair burden on a new class teacher and a “build up” of lost learning too heavy to address at the end of a key stage.
Progress along the core curriculum is scrutinised through regular monitoring and formally at five assessment points through the year. Pupil Progress meetings attended by senior leaders, subject leads and SENDCos ensure that “no one is left behind”. (see Policy for Assessment, Marking and Recording). All children have access to our curriculum and those with difficulties are quickly identified and interventions put in place to enable them to progress at the fastest possible rate. (See SEND offer).
Through the wider curriculum our intent is to provide a curriculum which will combine the best of traditional learning with the best of the new. For many of our staff members this means providing children with the type of experience which we were privileged to enjoy as children: those which inspired enquiring minds; an appreciation of the arts; the achievements of our ancestors; the wonders of the world outside of our small mill town; a recognition that all people should be treated equally and time spent with caring, interested adults who can protect children from the dangers which come hand in hand with the advantages that the new technology offers.
Our curriculum programme is set out below. Rather than waste time “re-inventing the wheel” it is roughly based on resources provided by the Cornerstones programmes. However, these have been tailored to meet our own specific needs which we identify as a lack of local knowledge, low aspiration, sparse vocabulary, limited life experience and poor recall. Our School Development Plan allows for this curriculum to be bespoke to Fairfield.
In response, we have planned projects which provide opportunities that do not exist at home through visits, visitors and “wow” starters. Each project starts with a harvest of existing knowledge (facts and skills); agreed key questions to be explored; a list of the vocabulary necessary to become “experts” and an experience to create enjoyment and engagement.
Our projects celebrate what each child brings to school e.g an additional language or out of school hobby and of course, a love of performing. We aim to make children aware of their role as global citizens and to care about issues “beyond their street”. We ask them to debate and to be able to argue with empathy and self-belief. We aim that our children know why they are learning in specific areas and to see themselves as “experts” in their fields. For example in following our curriculum Y1 children not only see themselves as historians but many have aspirations to be palaeontologists!! Throughout the school, children must see themselves as artists, geographers and engineers. They must see themselves as citizens, respect fundamental British values and know how to stay fit and healthy. They must develop “cultural capital”.
Finally, we recognise the need to engage our parents and carers with the curriculum. They are the children’s first teachers and spend the highest proportion of time with our pupils.
Each subject has its own statement of intent but each is aimed at developing rounded, caring, hard-working citizens who aspire to happiness and high standards.
Mixed Age Classes
Our school is extremely popular and always over subscribed. This is a problem because our Published Admission Number (PAN) was for 35 pupils per year group up until September 2019. This is too large for a school where quality feedback to children through marking and individual surgeries is our key teaching and learning tool. At KS1 where classes legally have to be below 30, we have always formed 3 classes for the 2 year groups. We decide on the make up of each class using different criteria each year depending on what our self evaluation tells us is the best way to ensure each child makes maximum progress and will be happy. For 2020/21 this has been done based on mainly on ability. The classes are named after rivers so that we don't get children being told they have been "kept down".
All of our KS1 children enjoy access to our conservatory, which is a continuous provision area where they can continue with key developmental learning through play. This is gradually phased out as children develop from the stage of "concrete" to "formative" operations.
At KS2 we have been forced to keep to classes with larger numbers with appeals for places sometimes taking numbers to 38. In 2020 our mixed KS2 classes have been formed based on ability, with some special consideration for children with special needs taken into account.
Zambezi is a pure Y1 class children.
Nile is a pure class of Y2 children.
Mississippi is a mixed class of Y2 and Y3 children.
Severn is a mixed class of Y3 children and Y4 children.
Amazon is a mixed class of Y4 and Y5 children.
Colorado is a pure class of children.
Hudson is a pure class of Y6 children.
We greatly value the experiences based on literature for our non core curriculum and so the whole school now follows the Cornerstones Curriculum as published on this website and the areas of study based on those of the older age group for each class with teachers given the complex task of differentiating work for the younger children. As always, our aim is for Happiness, High Standards and maximum progress.
Although our Topic Overview (above) covers much of the curriculum, we cover P.E., R.E., PSHE and Computing through other curriculums.
Early Years Curriculum
If you wish to find about more information about the curriculum being covered at Fairfield, please make an appointment at the main office to speak to a teacher or subject leader.